the OL isn't going to have as big of a drop off in production as some might fear
...imo. I went through and counted up the number of returning starts for the OL group and was pleasantly surprised. I know returning starts isn't a conclusive indicator by itself for OL potential and competency but it shows that we're not replacing 3 experienced players with totally inexperienced players.
For some of the returning guys like Joe Tukuafu and Connor Pay they don't have a ton of starting experience but they do have some starts (5) and due to all the blowouts last year were able to get onto the field in nearly every game, for others like Keanu Saleapaga, Blake Freeland, James Empey and Clark Barrington they have a lot of starts between them (84). That's a combined 89 returning starts for this group which isn't anything to be taken lightly.
Saleapaga, Freeland and Empey are multi-year starters and Barrington had starts in his freshman year (4 games) as well as being a starter last year for most of the season. As you know chemistry is a necessary element in a successful OL group and this group should be fine in that category. Our top 6-7 guys all have mutliple years in the program and with the strength and conditioning coaches under Grimes. We'll see that carry over into this season as we transition under a new OL Coach. Also at least 3 of our guys are on NFL radars and have been getting high grades from PFF so they are well established talent-wise and only going to get better with more time, experience and development. This season and coming seasons look very bright for this group.